Taxes on the Ballot 2012
By Jennifer Burnett | Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm
Download the Excel Version of the Table: "Major Tax Ballot Measures, 2012"
Voters across the country made ballot decisions in the November elections that will have fiscal implications for years to come in many states. Ballot measures proposed a number of tax-related changes, including sales and income tax increases, caps on certain taxes—particularly property taxes—an increased ability for legislatures to provide tax breaks to individuals and businesses, and a requirement that new state taxes be passed by a supermajority of the legislature or go to the voters.
A less hostile attitude toward tax increases prevailed in a few states—a continuing trend from 2010.
- In Arkansas, voters passed Issue 2, which will increase the sales tax by a half percent to fund transportation infrastructure.
- In California, Proposition 30 passed with 53.3 percent of the vote. The approval may signal a major change in the attitude of Californians toward taxes since the tax revolt of 1978, when voters adopted major restrictions on property taxes. Gov. Jerry Brown pushed for the adoption of Prop 30, a $6 billion-a-year package of tax hikes that raises income taxes on the wealthy and sales taxes on everyone else. It will prevent billions of dollars in education budget cuts.
- In Michigan, a measure that would require any increases in state taxes to be approved by either a two-thirds majority in the legislature or a statewide vote failed by a large margin.
- In Oregon, Initiative 15 failed by a 54-36 percent margin; the proposal would have phased out the state’s estate tax over the next four years.
- In Florida, voters rejected Amendment 4, which would have placed additional limits on property taxes.
A largely anti-tax sentiment continued to prevail in other states, as voters rejected a number of tax increases.
- In Arizona, voters rejected Proposition 24 soundly, 65 percent to 35 percent. The measure would have made permanent a temporary 1-cent sales tax increase, set to expire next year, and would have used the additional revenues for education, highway projects, social services and health care.
- In New Hampshire, Constitutional Amendment 1 passed with 57 percent of the vote; it will prohibit the levy of new taxes on personal income in the state, which currently doesn’t have a tax on income.
- Oklahoma voters passed State Question 758, which will limit increases to property taxes in the state on certain property.
- In Missouri, a tight vote led to the failure of Proposition B, which would have increased state taxes on cigarettes, with the proceeds going to establish the Health and Education Trust Fund to reduce and prevent tobacco use among students.
- In South Dakota, voters shot down an initiative to increase the sales tax by 1 cent to fund the South Dakota Moving Forward Fund, split evenly between K-12 education and Medicaid providers.
- Florida, Louisiana and Utah passed measures designed to limit the property tax burden on active and/or retired military personnel and their spouses.
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